Delirious? Wow Bon Jovi Fans (Direction Magazine)
Last modified: 01 Nov 2001
Source: Direction Magazine
Author: Michael Swain
Date: Nov 2001
It was a busy summer for 'Delirious?' - releasing an album and two singles, touring with rock giants Bon Jovi, as well as playing festivals in the UK and abroad. Michael Swain talks to drummer Stew Smith, who explains how his family cope with the pressure, and why 'good church boys' are cutting it in mainstream rock.
For Stew, the hardest thing about being in a busy band is preserving relationships with wife Sara and daughters Abigail (six) and Jemimah (two).
"We've got this unwritten rule of ten days," he says. "We try to be away no longer, if it can be helped. It's hard, but we're in a band, and you can't play your home town for the rest of your life. That's part of the cost."
He adds: "It's a greater cost for our wives, because when we're away doing what we love, they're getting kids ready for school, making tea, doing baths. My wife says, 'You get up there and people are cheering you and clapping you. Sometimes I put the girls to bed and I imagine people clapping me.' That's stuck with me. We're in it together."
Delirious? sales have shatered the one million pound mark and, despite Radio One's refusal to play any Christian band*, they've achieved several chart successes, including See the Star, which reached No 16.
Stew says Delirious? are determined to stand firm, even if it means doing things the hard way. "We want to change culture. That's why we've worked so hard at doing the Christian thing and the mainstream thing. I don't think there's any other band in the UK that's doing that, and very few in America, because often they leave Christian roots behind and become a mainstream band. It's easier to deny Christianity, because there is a huge stigma attached to it."
The Delirious? blend balances delicately between worship style and mainstream appeal, and lyrics are part of that balance: "As good church boys we're really comfortable with church lingo," says Stew. "But people don't understand those terms. So we try to communicate in a way that anyone can understand while still holding onto the impact and passion of who Jesus is."
The balancing act is obviously working, judging by the great reaction the boys got from supporting rock legends Bon Jovi and Matchbox 20 on the 'One Wild Night' tour.
"We've done mainstream festivals like Glastonbury but we've never done a mainstream tour, let alone the biggest UK tour of the year," says Stew. "To get up in front of 60,000 people was quite an experience, but scary, because most of them didn't know anything about us. We had 35 minutes and played a varied set, including full-on Christian songs. To see those Bon Jovi fans singing along, having a great time, was amazing."
The band have been inundated with e-mails from Bon Jovi and Matchbox 20 fans who thought it was one of the best opening acts they'd ever seen and wanted to buy the album.
"We had a letter from one girl saying, 'I went to the gig, didn't know anything about you and loved your stuff. I bought the album, realised you were Christians and I've started reading the Bible.' For us that makes it all worthwhile," Stew says. "Someimtes you wonder whether you've making a difference or just pretending. But when you get hard evidence like that you realise that God's doing something."
Shortly after the tour, the band released their latest album, Audio Lessonover. Despite Stew's packed schedule, he still finds time for other interests: "My personal goal is to complete my second triathlon." He only recently learned to swim, but in his first event he came 16th out of 200. "This time I'm aiming for the top ten" Stew says. Perhaps before long the whole band will be sharing a top ten success.
* This website would like to point out that despite the claims of the magazine quoted above, it is not true that Radio One refuse to play Christian bands.